Workplace Fire Safety: Everyone Has a Job

Welcome to the second edition of our Fire Prevention Week 2014 series. Now that we’ve established fire safety tips for your home, let’s focus on the workplace. According to the National Fire Protection Association, U.S. fire departments respond to over 3,000 fire on office properties per year.

Like at home, it’s your responsibility to take the necessary steps to keep your office environment safe. While there are specific measures employers should take to protect their staff – every employee should do their part to prevent fires.

Some employers are required by law to have an emergency action plan in place; however, it’s smart for all companies to create and share a strategy with staff in the event of a fire.

Employers should…

  • Teach employees about fire hazards in the workplace – provide proper training in fire prevention and protection
  • Inform employees of office housekeeping procedures for storage and cleanup
  • Go over rules for controlling ignition sources such as smoking
  • Provide for proper cleaning and maintenance of heat-producing equipment
  • Require fire safety plan review with all new employees
  • Alert the entire staff when changes are made to the fire safety plan
  • Inspect office equipment on a regular basis
  • Keep fire equipment in plain sight
  • Prohibit smoking at and around work areas
  • Have an alarm system that consists of visual and audible signals
  • Post reporting instructions and local Fire Department codes around the office
  • Conduct regular fire drills
  • Include disabled employees in the fire emergency planning process
  • Appoint a fire safety leader

Employees should…

  • Keep work areas clean and free from clutter including waste paper and trash
  • Replace damaged electrical cords
  • Help maintain machinery to prevent overheating
  • Never overload circuits
  • Make sure papers and books are not piled on top of computer monitors
  • Always report malfunctioning electrical equipment
  • Make sure heat-producing equipment is far away from anything that could burn including copiers, fax machines, coffee makers and computers
  • Remember to get rid of trash regularly so it does not accumulate
  • Keep dock areas neat and clean
  • Know the location of fire alarm pull stations and extinguishers
  • Smoke in designated areas only
  • Become familiar with the proper exits and emergency procedures
  • Follow building security measures to prevent arson fires – lock up and report suspicious individuals
  • Never block sprinklers, firefighting equipment or emergency exits
  • Keep emergency telephone numbers and the office address readily available
  • Never run extension cords across doorways or where they can easily be stepped on or run over by chairs and other furniture
  • Avoid plugging more than one extension cord into an outlet

Be sure to check back for our final Fire Prevention Week tips for school.